Man lay dead in St Stephen’s Green for several hours, inquest hears

Homeless drug user Derek Buchan found lying face down in bushes after overdose

St Stephen’s Green from above. Photograph: ststephensgreenpark.ie

St Stephen’s Green from above. Photograph: ststephensgreenpark.ie

 

A homeless man lay dead in Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green for a number of hours before he was discovered, an inquest heard.

Derek Buchan (39) originally from Drogheda, Co Louth had no permanent address but used homeless hostels in the city, Dublin Coroner’s Court heard.

He was found lying face down in foliage at the Leeson Street end of St Stephen’s Green on January 30th, 2016.

It was beginning to get dark as Park Constable David Morgan and his three colleagues were locking the park at 4.20pm, the court heard.

“I was locking the two small gates at the Leeson Street end of the park around when I saw a person lying in the bushes. I saw the figure of a man lying face down,” Mr Morgan said.

‘Free spirit’

He noted drug paraphernalia and attempted to rouse the man before calling emergency services, he said.

“It was an area where people used to go in to sleep and use drugs,” Mr Morgan said.

All four park constables lock the park in the evenings, checking bushes and shrubbery for people. Mr Morgan said the bushes where Mr Buchan was found had since been cut down.

The man’s sister, Mary McCabe said he was a ‘free spirit’ whom she hoped was now at peace.

His possessions included a rosary beads, a scapular and €65.

“He was a free spirit, he wouldn’t settle anywhere, he was always wandering around. He used to come to me every Christmas but we didn’t see him that year,” Ms McCabe told the court.

Gardaí and Dublin Fire Brigade attended the scene and Mr Buchan was pronounced dead at 5.45pm. The doctor who pronounced his death noted that he had been dead for a number of hours before he was found.

A postmortem examination gave the cause of death as a drug overdose, with evidence of heroin and the sleep medication zopiclone found in his system.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane returned a verdict of death by misadventure.

Mr Buchan was a friend of Jonathan Corrie, a homeless man who died after consuming a fatal mix of drugs and alcohol near Leinster House in December 2014.